T:The 118th Congress begins on Tuesday with Republicans answerable for the Home of Representatives and Democrats retaining their majority within the Senate. The primary day can even mark the number of a brand new speaker, a sometimes routine affair that has been a supply of political drama over the previous month as Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California struggled to lock down help from the Republican caucus.
Every Congress meets for 2 years. Forward of the 2024 presidential election, Home Republicans are anticipated to make use of their slim majority to pursue a variety of investigations, together with the Division of Homeland Safety and President Joe Biden’s son. Hunter Biden. Democrats within the Senate will proceed to nominate judges nominated by President Joe Biden. Past that, significant legislative change might be tough in a divided Congress
This is what to anticipate when the brand new Congress resumes on Tuesday.
Within the Senate, the place Democrats retained their majority, the important thing gamers this 12 months might be much like final 12 months, with Democrat Chuck Schumer as majority chief and Republican Mitch McConnell as minority chief. House is one other story.
Kevin McCarthy, who was the Home Minority Chief throughout the earlier Congress, confronted some opposition from his personal get together in his bid to grow to be speaker of the Home. With voting set to start on Tuesday, it stays unclear whether or not he can have sufficient votes to win. In current weeks, 5 Home RepublicansMatt Gaetz of Florida, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Matt Rosendale of Montana, Bob Goode of Virginia and Andy Biggs of Arizona mentioned they’d not vote for McCarthy on Jan. 3.
Earlier than the November election, McCarthy, 57, revealed his “Dedication to America,” a Republican legislative agenda that features objectives to extend border safety, cut back inflation and advance a so-called “parental rights invoice.”
Throughout the aisle, New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries is ready to grow to be minority chief a decade after becoming a member of Congress. He is able to be the primary black chief of any get together and to serve in a single numerous get together management groups within the historical past of Congress. At 52, he was praised for bringing contemporary blood to the Democratic management after Nancy Pelosi, 82, introduced in November that she would get down as a speaker. Jeffries has been poised to tackle the mantle for years, having beforehand served as chairman of the Home Democratic Caucus.
Republicans have labored to undermine Jeffries by working deceptive assaults calling him an “election denier”. Geoffreys may run into roadblocks coping with the left wing of his personal get together. He has supported Home incumbents dealing with progressive challengers and has at instances drawn skepticism from essentially the most left-leaning representatives. Nonetheless, Home Democrats are extra united than Republicans. Jeffries has emphasised constructing bridges throughout ideological traces and has discovered help amongst Democrats of all stripes.
What occurs on the primary day?
The Structure requires the brand new Congress to convene on the afternoon of January 3, until the earlier Congress legislates in any other case.
The primary main order of enterprise within the Home is the election and swearing in of the Speaker. Usually, the leaders of every main get together nominate one candidate, though different members are allowed to appoint further candidates. The elected members then take a voice vote to elect their speaker. The winner should obtain a majority of the votes solid.
After the inauguration of the President, the brand new President administers the oath to the opposite members without delay on the ground of the Home. As soon as that’s achieved, the following main duties are the number of administrative officers and approval of a brand new algorithm by decision of the Home of Representatives. The foundations of the earlier Congress usually are not adopted, however the majority get together tends to supply a modified model of the previous package deal. Many members might obtain committee assignments on the primary day earlier than the Home’s day-to-day operations.
The Senate aspect works the identical means, however provides a bit extra continuity. The truth that senators are elected in staggered phrases means they do not must undertake a complete new algorithm. The first merchandise on Tuesday’s agenda would be the swearing-in ceremony of latest senators within the Senate chamber. Senators can then elect a Senate President professional tempore to preside over the chamber within the Vice President’s absence, appoint committee members, and introduce different laws.
Though Democrats retain management of the Senate, a Republican majority within the Home of Representatives means efforts that Democrats rushed to cross late final 12 months are probably useless, together with a codification measure. Roe vs. WadeThe landmark case that made abortion authorized in the US, which the Supreme Courtroom overturned in June.
Through the midterm elections, Republicans campaigned criticizing Biden’s dealing with of the financial system and signaled plans to chop federal spending, together with cuts in U.S. assist to Ukraine.
What might Republicans do with management of the Home?
With Republicans answerable for the Home of Representatives, scrutiny and scrutiny of government choices made by the Biden administration will choose up steam.
Republicans have lengthy known as for an investigation into Homeland Safety Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for his investigation into the US-Mexico border and an investigation into Hunter Biden. Many have additionally mentioned they wish to examine the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Republican Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, who will now chair the Home Oversight Committee, wrote final month: op-ed: for It Wall Avenue Journal that the committee will examine Biden’s border insurance policies, pandemic assist fraud, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the origins of COVID-19 and the Biden household’s enterprise dealings. “Within the new Congress, Republicans will restore the fee to its correct function, eliminating waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement within the federal authorities,” Comer mentioned. “Members of the fee will train credible oversight, establish issues and suggest reforms.”
Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan will grow to be the chairman of the Home Judiciary Committee, which has the authority to conduct impeachment proceedings. Jordan mentioned The Washington Instances that Majorkas “deserves” an investigation that might result in impeachment. He additionally mentioned the fee would examine Division of Schoolingand political bias within the Justice Division and the FBI.
Learn extra: Why Home Republicans Need to Attempt to Impeach DHS Secretary Mayorkas
The Jan. 6 panel, which final month beneficial 4 felony costs towards former President Donald Trump and revealed its last report, will dissolve with the brand new Congress, and Republicans who management the Home of Representatives are unlikely to carry the fee again. McCarthy has known as out The committee “essentially the most politicized and most unlawful committee in American historical past.”
What Democrats May Do With Senate Management
Each senator reelected by the Senate gained, like John Fetterman, who secured an open seat in Pennsylvania beforehand held by a Republican. That may give Democrats a slender 51-seat majority within the 100-seat chamber. However then Sen. Kirsten Sinema introduced final month that she’s working as an unbiased, who does not plan to run with Democrats, although she promised the choice would would not change his job in Congress. Democrats will retain management as Vice President Kamala Harris might break a tie within the Senate.
Senate Democrats are anticipated to proceed to substantiate the judges that Biden appoints. However lots of the get together’s extra formidable priorities will stay elusive within the absence of bipartisan help within the new Congress. Even passing a majority measure by way of the Senate would require bypassing the filibuster, and Sen. Joe Manchin’s opposition to doing so below any circumstances means Democrats. one much less vote.
Extra must-reads from TIME